Since 2008, it has been my privilege to have David Tubbs as my pastor, as a valuable spiritual leader, and as my friend.
David has believed in me. He has challenged me. He has occasionally frustrated me. Sounds like growth, doesn’t it? His influence in my life has made me a better Christian, husband, and father. He has—always positively and constructively—helped me be more accountable to myself, to my family, and to God.
I have been proud of him many times, but never more so than right now.
Following are his remarks following the United Methodist Church conference vote concerning homosexuality. Our congregation, Good Shepherd, received this statement earlier this afternoon by email, and with his explicit permission I am sharing it.
Conversations and Community
Toward A New Testament Church
I know we all feel differently about the events surrounding the Special Called General Conference. Honestly I was very disappointed in the outcome. I know many of us believe differently about what the Bible says or does not say. Many of us believe differently about how to interpret the Bible. And as I have said on many occasions we all pick and choose what parts we want to believe, what parts we think are important and what parts matter in our lives. We rationalize our faith to the extent that we can feel comfortable with it, so that we can live with ourselves and our behaviors. Then we divide up in teams and try to win folks to our side or at least point out why the other team is wrong.
For years the church (all churches have been going through this, not just United Methodists) has wrestled with the issue of homosexuality and we have not come to conclusions overall. We have wrestled with Baptism as well and many other issues. So, I don’t believe we are going to change hearts and minds over the next few weeks. However, there are a few things that I feel pretty strongly about.
God created everything and everyone and longs for relationship with all God’s creation. For us as a denomination to make 2nd class citizens out of any group is wrong. For us to deny people coming to church and feeling welcome in God’s presence is wrong. When I read about the New Testament Church the thing that boggles my mind is that they kept opening the doors to “new” and “different” folks. People that had been seen as unclean (like us Gentiles) to people that were forbidden by the Law (like the Eunuch) to enemies and oppressors (like Cornelius) to downright terrorists of the new church (like Paul) all found their place in the New Testament Church. That is truly astounding to me and one that I’m sure strained the church while it was happening. It had to be maddening to some Jewish folks to let the Gentiles in. It had to be frustrating to allow Eunuchs and enemies of the church in the doors.
I’m sure then many people disagreed with those decisions and their acceptance. I firmly believe God wants all God’s children and Good Shepherd will continue to be a place where everyone is welcome. I will continue to preach that God’s love is for all—no exceptions. I will continue to realize that we share differing views on a range of theological issues and that we will not always agree. And guess what—it has always been that way! I firmly believe that Jesus would agree with those things.
There were conservatives, liberals and centrists then and there will be now. But guess what, I still want to serve with you, love others with you and follow God with you!
See You in Worship,